Six Thinking Hats

As we put the finishing touches on this year’s (sold out!) DTS program, I wanted to share some of the ideas we have on how to have a productive and useful event.

Several months ago I came across the De Bono Group’s Six Thinking Hats, a system designed to help facilitate discussions among groups. The underlying concept is that humans think in several distinct ways, and approaching a topic with this in mind can help structure conversation. Participants are encouraged to think about the topic at hand through these different lenses by wearing different colored hats that correspond to the different ways of thinking. The end result is – hopefully – a well-rounded conversation that takes many factors into account.

The colors, or ways of thinking, are as follows:

Blue Managing the thinking process – what’s the end goal? How are we going to get there? Look at the big picture!

White Information-centric – What’s available? What’s needed to make a decision or move ahead?

Red Emotional – gut reaction, hunch-driven, emotional

Black Judgement-oriented – practical, realistic, often plays devil’s advocate

Yellow Optimistic – seeking value, benefits, looking for ways to ‘make it work’

Green Creative – looking for new possibilities and opportunities; exploratory.

Take, for example, one of next week’s topics: Business Management. One of the questions posed is “how can we make use of data while maintaining client trust?”

The green hat (or “Green”) might start the conversation with a provocative statement, perhaps throwing out the beginning of an idea to develop. Red might have heard of a similar suggestion, but is concerned of its applicability in AEC. White might start searching for statistics that support (or refute) Green’s initial statement. Black will be scouring her brain for the exception that might invalidate the idea. And so on.

As you prepare for DTS, keep in mind these colors and the perspectives they represent, and be prepared to share your thoughts. We’re looking forward to a day filled with your thoughts and ideas!

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